Legendary Coach Battles Hodgkin Lymphoma
- Legendary Texas A&M football coach R.C. Slocum was recently diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.
- He’s been surrounded by a wave of support from the school and other friends since announcing the news.
- Hodgkin lymphoma is less common but generally easier to cure than Non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Hodgkin lymphoma is characterized by the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell – a giant cell derived from B lymphocytes. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma does not have this cell present.
In a Facebook post, Slocum explained that he had spent several days at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston undergoing various tests. At this point, he did not know what was wrong, but he did know it wasn’t going to be something he could brush off.Read More
“Not sure what all is going on but it is serious,” he wrote on Facebook. “I am meeting with my doctor Monday afternoon at MDA to find out.”
After meeting with his doctor, the College Football Hall of Famer found out he had Hodgkin lymphoma. The news spread fast, and fans and friends alike have reached out in support of Slocum. In a recent tweet, the Texas A&M Football account shared the news of Slocum’s diagnosis and explained that he would undergo chemotherapy in College Station, Texas, where he lives. The tweet included a statement from Slocum saying: “I have been so encouraged by the outpouring of love, prayers, and support from friends everywhere. I have great medical support and I will get started on this challenge as soon as possible. I have a strong faith and will trust for a positive outcome.”
Following out-patient tests at M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston, @rcslocum been diagnosed with a form of Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He will require chemotherapy, and will undergo that in College Station in consultation with M.D. Anderson.
Praying for you, coach! 🙏🙏 pic.twitter.com/fGb0yutTE8
— Texas A&M Football (@AggieFootball) June 22, 2021
And it’s no surprise to see Aggie Football supporting their former coach. He is, after all, their most winningest coach with a record of 123-47-2. Slocum served as head football coach from 1989 to 2002, but his overall association with Texas A&M dates back to 1972 when he worked as an assistant to three head coaches before becoming head coach himself. He’s also sent more than 50 of his former players into the National Football League. His most recent direct association to the school was in 2019 when he served as the interim athletic director between the departure of Scott Woodward for LSU and the arrival of Ross Bjork from Ole Miss. Overall, Slocum has been lauded for his achievements, and it’s nice to know the school is showing their support for their longtime-devotee.
Understanding Hodgkin Lymphoma
Lymphoma is a cancer of the immune system. There are more than 40 different types of lymphoma, and Hodgkin lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin lymphoma are two sub-categories with the latter being more common. The type of white blood cells linked to the disease determines the distinction. If doctors are unable to detect the Reed-Sternberg cell – a giant cell derived from B lymphocytes – then it is categorized as Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
In a previous interview, Dr. Elise Chong, a medical oncologist at Penn Medicine, explained that Hodgkin lymphoma is most often seen in younger adults. And although less common, it is generally easier to cure than Non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Dr. Elise Chong explains why your type of lymphoma matters
Dr. Chong also said lymphoma symptoms can be difficult to detect. “The symptoms of lymphoma, especially if you have a low-grade lymphoma, often are no symptoms. People say, but I feel completely fine, and that’s very normal,” she explains.
Faith during a Cancer Battle
R.C. Slocum has already shared that faith is going to play a big role during his cancer journey.
“Please put me you on your prayer list,” he wrote on Facebook. “I am a firm believer that God is in control and can still do miraculous things.”
For some people, turning to faith can be a great way to keep spirits high when cancer starts taking an emotional and/or physical toll.
Monica Layton, an ovarian cancer survivor, also believes in the power of faith during a fight with cancer. She turned to her church congregation for support as she battled cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic and then went through recovery.
“[I’ve] gone to the same church for a long time, so it’s like another family that really supports me,” Layton told SurvivorNet in a previous interview. “We’re Episcopalian, and when I was having surgery my priest came to the hospital and stayed and prayed with my family the whole time – and it was a long surgery. And then he came back to the hospital every day to pray with me.”
In addition to praying for her, Layton’s church also sent flowers, cards and a prayer blanket and often visited her.
“They were so kind,” Layton said. “I think my faith has been very important, crucial for me. Just the prayer really helps, I think.”